Algae are important as primary producers of organic matter at the base of the food chain. They also provide oxygen for other aquatic life. Algae may contribute to mass mortality of other organisms, in cases of algal blooms, but they also contribute to economic well- being in the form of food, medicine and other products. In tropical regions, coralline algae can be as important as corals in the formation of reefs.
Seaweeds are larger algae that live in the marine (salt or brackish water) environment. Kelps are large brown seaweeds in the genera Pelagophycus, Laminaria, Macrocystis, etc. In the Pacific, individual kelp plants may reach 65 meters in length.
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